Consumer Reports: Tips to help you clean out your refrigerator

When it comes to food and fridge organization, Paul Hope has a system he uses year-round.

"A week or two before a big holiday meal, I like to go through the fridge, stop buying new groceries and try to use up things I already have. It's also a good time to throw out anything that's expired or purge things you know you're not going to use before the end of the year," Hope said.

When it's time to head to the grocery store, take a minute before you leave to clear some space in your fridge.

"On the top shelf, you want to keep raw, ready-to-eat foods, things like prepped salads, or desserts, anything you don't want to come into contact with foods on the other shelves," said Hope.

The middle shelf is your prepared dish zone. Basically, any foods that are prepped, covered and ready to be heated.

Place raw meats on the bottom shelf. This prevents it from dripping or getting into your ready-to-eat foods.

Less perishable items like condiments and jams are great for side shelves.

For leftovers, break them down into meal-sized portions and store them in shallow, covered containers. Freeze anything you won't eat in three to four days.

"To preserve freshness and quality of foods, you really want to keep things airtight, so use products dedicated for that like freezer bags," Hope said.

If you ever find yourself short on fridge space, you can use a cooler for some last-minute storage. Add some ice, and it should be good for a few hours.

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